The desire for freedom may well be universal, but what people mean by it is very particular. The young people who are transforming the Middle East yearn for democracy, even if at times they can't quite say what it is. Fareed Zakaria's cover essay cites two powerful reasons the youth of the Middle East are an engine of historical change: demographics and technology. In the region, more than half the people are under 30, and they can communicate with one another. Bobby Ghosh's accompanying story explores who these youths are and brings them alive, thanks to our reporters and photographers in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran and elsewhere, who have been following the revolutions for the past month. Watch Fareed discuss his piece on his Sunday CNN show, Fareed Zakaria GPS.
If you think this issue of TIME looks a bit different, you're right. We've tweaked the front of the magazine, adding an Economy page and a photo spread; moved 10 Questions to the back page; and created one large section called The Culture, which combines the old Life and Arts sections. The design evolution was led by executive editor Nancy Gibbs, along with assistant managing editor Radhika Jones and our design director, D.W. Pine. They did a beautiful job, but you're the judge. Let us know what you think at time.com/feedback
Finally, on Feb. 11, Jodi Bieber won the World Press Photo of the Year award for her haunting picture of Aisha, a young woman whose face was disfigured by the Taliban. The portrait was commissioned by TIME and ran on the cover in August. We're proud that Jodi won the award and are relieved to say Aisha is in the U.S. and doing well. More about her soon.
Richard Stengel, MANAGING EDITOR